Parody Exposing Power

BindingWe continue our celebration of the 30th anniversary of Binding The Strong Man, Ched Myers’ political reading of Mark’s Gospel.  Today’s passage is Mark 6:14-29.

The portrayal of the Herodian court intrigue gives an even sharper edge to the episode; the dinner party (6:21-28) becomes the occasion for the murderous whims of the ruling class of Galilee to be revealed.  The guest list of his birthday banquet (6:21) reflects, in the words of Sherwin-White, “the court and establishment of a petty Jewish prince under strong Roman influence:”

  1.  his court nobles (tois megistasin)
  2.  his army officers (tois chiliarchois)
  3.  leading Galileans (tois protois tes Galilaias).

Mark accurately describes the inner circle of power as an incestuous relationship involving governmental, military, and commercial interests. Continue reading

We Begin to Flow

Alice WalkerBy Alice Walker, from a talk she gave at Auburn Theological Seminary (NYC, April 1995) in Anything We Love Can Be Saved: A Writer’s Activism (1997):

It is fatal to love a God who does not love you. A God specifically created to comfort, lead, advise, strengthen and enlarge the tribal borders of someone else. We have been beggars at the table of a religion that sanctioned our destruction. Our own religions denied, forgotten; our own ancestral connection to All Creation something of which we are ashamed. I maintain that we are empty, lonely, without our pagan-heathen ancestors; that we must lively them up within ourselves, and begin to see them as whole and necessary and correct: their Earth-centered, female-reverencing religions, like their architecture, agriculture, and music, suited perfectly to the lives they led. And lead, those who are left, today. Continue reading

Camp Compasión

PaveyFrom the Facebook page of photographer Steve Pavey:

“Let’s remember why we are here. We are not here to fight white supremacists. We are here to fight white supremacy.” – Jesus Ibanez, Mijente & OccupyICElou

Last Monday, Mijente with solidarity support from Black Lives Matter and other allies, established Camp Compasión / #OccupyICE in Louisville outside the doors of ICE and issued a set of demands with the message that we must #AbolishICE. Continue reading

The Means

Helen Moore

Detroit legend Queen Mother Helen Moore orders a table for one from Michigan Governor Rick Snyder (PC: Jennifer Teed)

By Tommy Airey

This is the sequel to The Ways, posted on the day after the Spring Equinox 2018.

I won’t apologize.  But I must confess. I am a “biblical Christian.” Yet, in this post-colonial conversation, I know I can’t just testify. I must specify. The spiritual movement of the Hebrew prophets and Jesus is fundamentally a descent. The bible, like a broken record ever-resisting imperial feedback, plays a prejudiced tune that sides with the poor and oppressed and demonized and scapegoated. To be clear, the way of Jesus does not have the patent on the prophetic path less plodded. It is simply the route I’ve chosen. Or perhaps it has chosen me. Continue reading

Rekindled by Ritual

bonfire.jpegBy Joyce Hollyday

How to hold the heartbreak and the outrage? Hundreds of babies and toddlers, schoolchildren and teenagers wrenched from the embrace of their parents, many now sobbing inconsolably in immigrant detention centers—some unbelievably lost in the system. My friend Rosalinda, who used to earn just pennies an hour working in a U.S. factory on the Mexican border, who had a nephew who was murdered there, felt a need to tell me her own family’s story of escape from desperate poverty and rampant violence. She related a harrowing saga of vulnerable hiding places, grueling river and desert crossings, capture and release by Border Patrol agents, and a second attempt—all endured so that her children might have safety, enough food, and the chance to grow up. It is unimaginable to think that they might have been stolen from her here. Continue reading

Strategies of a Subversive Movement

BindingWe continue our celebration of the 30th anniversary of Binding The Strong Man, Ched Myers’ political reading of Mark’s Gospel.  Today’s passage is Mark 6:1-13.

There is no indication that Jesus’ “orders” are unique to this mission; they are for “the way” (eis hodon)–that is, paradigmatic of discipleship lifestyle (6:8).  Their narrative significance lies not in some model of heroic asceticism (which would contradict Jesus’ ambivalence toward, e.g., fasting), but in the emphasis upon the utter dependence of the disciples upon hospitality.  The “apostles” (so designated for the only time in Mark upon their return from the mission in 6:30) are allowed the means of travel (staff, sandals) but not sustenance (bread, money bag and money, extra clothes).  In other words, they, like Jesus who has just been renounced in his own “home,” are to take on the status of a sojourner in the land.  We might note that the “donning of sandals” as a Markan metaphor for discipleship was missed by both Matthew (who forbids them, Mt 10:10) and Luke (who omits the reference, Lk 9:3). Continue reading

What Radical Change Would Require

ZinnFrom the conclusion of “The Coming Revolt of the Guards,” chapter twenty-four of Howard Zinn’s classic A People’s History of the United States of America:

Let us imagine what radical change would require of us all.

The society’s levers of powers would have to be taken away from those whose drives have led to the present state–the giant corporations, the military, and their politician collaborators. We would need–by a coordinated effort of local groups all over the country–to reconstruct the economy for both efficiency and justice, producing in a cooperative way what people need most. We would start on our neighborhoods, our cities, our workplaces. Work of some kind would be needed by everyone, including people now kept out of the work force–children, old people, “handicapped” people. Society could use the enormous energy now idle, the skills and talents now unused. Everyone could share the routine but necessary jobs for a few hours a day, and leave most of the time free for enjoyment, creativity, labors of love, and yet produce enough for an equal and ample distribution of goods. Certain basic things would be abundant enough to be taken out of the money system and be available-free–to everyone: food, housing, health care, education, transportation. Continue reading